At a press conference during the 69th International Astronautical Congress here Oct. 3, representatives of NASA, the European Space Agency and companies involved in the program said the first European Service Module, the "powerhouse" of the Orion spacecraft, should be shipped from a nearby Airbus factory late this month.
"We're planning to ship on the 29th of October," said Nico Dettmann, head of ESA's Exploration Development Group. Some final testing of the service module could delay that shipment by up to a week, he said, "but we're very confident that we'll ship on the 29th."
The service module will be shipped to the Kennedy Space Center, where it will be mated to the Orion crew module already there and undergo more testing in preparation for launch on the Space Launch System. That crew module is effectively complete, said Mike Hawes, vice president and Orion program manager at Lockheed Martin, other than some work replacing avionics boxes. "The U.S. team is ready," he said.